The New Golden Rule (For Self-Care)

Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

This rule has echoed through my head for as long as I can remember. Being kind to your neighbor was an essential tenet of Catholic school and I can't say I disagree with that one.

But there's something that I never learned at school (or even at home) that I'm beginning to learn at twenty-six years old: the opposite is true, too.

The golden rule for self-care

So many of my peers (especially young women) are drowning themselves in negative self-talk, self-neglect and exhaustion from trying to please others. It has to stop.

So I propose this additional golden rule: Do unto yourself as you would do unto others.

If your friend has a terrible week, would you force her to wallow in self pity instead of taking a relaxing day off? Would you love someone less if they didn't meet their fitness goals? Or judge them harshly based on how they look in the mirror?

I'm guessing no. So why do we do it to ourselves?

Self-care isn't selfish

There's a stigma when it comes to self-care that says taking time for ourselves is a selfish and pointless pursuit. But I'm not talking about self-absorption, I'm talking about doing ourselves the kindness of caring for our own bodies and minds.

It's kind of like the airline safety instructions to put on your own air mask before helping others fasten theirs—get yourself breathing so that you can be useful when you need to be. Without a healthy self-care routine or mindset, there's no way that we can give others the care and attention that they deserve.

Start with self-talk

The most essential part of this new golden rule starts with how we speak to ourselves. Are you speaking to yourself like you would speak to a friend? Or even a stranger who's done nothing wrong?

On my bad days, I call myself stupid, annoying, ugly, frumpy, and uninteresting. Typing those words out seems laughable at the moment, but the truth is that I abuse myself with very little provocation.

Here's where my new golden rule is going to come in handy. When I catch myself calling myself these things, I'm going to keep in mind how they would sound if I were to say it to other people.

We all deserve the same kindness that we bestow upon others. We are worthy of that, even when it's difficult to believe.

How will you choose to treat yourself today?